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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

Weminuche Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,400 Feet (2930.2 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 1,200 Feet (374.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,600 Feet (3304.2 Meters) Weminuche Pass on Continental Divide.
Length, One-way: 5.5 Miles (9.17 Kilometers)
Time, One-way: 4 Hours to Weminuche Pass
Trail Number: 818
Usage: Moderate to Heavy
USGS Maps: Weminuche Pass

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Weminuche Trail provides quick and easy access to the Continental Divide. From Thirty Mile Campground, the trail allows a hiker to be at Weminuche Pass after an easy 4 hour trip. Shortly after crossing Weminuche Creek Bridge, many good camping areas are available near the trail. Most trail users camp at the Weminuche Pass area. Many pleasant camping site are available at the pass. Fishermen will have easy access from the trail to Weminuche Creek, after about a 1 to 1.5 hour walk from the trailhead. The mile of Weminuche Creek nearest the Rio Grande reservoir is rugged, cliff-like terrain that is nearly impossible to fish. The headwater area of the creek is an open, broad valley that is easily fishable. at 10,600 feet, Weminuche Pass is the lowest point in the Continental Divide in the Weminuche Wilderness. Hikers often use Weminuche Trail as the first day hike on a longer trip to the Rio Grande Pyramid and "Window" areas along the Continental Divide.

The trail is well defined and easy to follow. The trail begins at a gradual steady climb away from Thirty Mile Campground and travels through mixed aspen and spruce tree stands above the Rio Grande Reservoir. After 1 1/2 miles, the trail crosses the Weminuche Creek Bridge and makes a short, steep climb out of the creek bottom. Once out of the immediate creek bottom area, the trail passes through patches of timber and small grassy parks before reaching the Weminuche Pass Area. The upper 3 mile segment is not difficult as it makes a fairly gradual climb to the pass.

Winter Activities:
There are over 200 miles of foot and horse trails provide access within the Weminuche Wilderness. Many of these trails can be very hard to follow in wintertime. Avalanche danger is present on segments of most all trails. The Weminuche Creek Trail 818 is the only trail recommended for winter use. Use of other trails in this remote area should only be done by the expert outdoorsman.

The Weminuche trail is located in remote yet beautiful country. With good snow conditions and weather, skiing to Weminuche Pass can be a very enjoyable experience. The trail is not marked but should not be difficult to follow. Only those in good physical condition and with moderate skiing experience should attempt to go all the way to the pass and back. One should go prepared to spend at least one night in a snow cave.

The first mile of the trail is a very gradual climb through aspen and spruce-fir timber and adjacent to the Rio Grande Reservoir. Some steep, short climbs are necessary both before and after crossing the Weminuche Creek bridge in the second segment of the trail. After the first 2 miles, the trail makes a gradual climb for 3 miles through an open basin laced with many fingers of timber that cross the trail corridor. Weminuche Pass is above timberline.

Directions from Creede: Drive southwest from Creede on Highway 149 for about 20 miles to the intersection of Highway 149 and Forest Development Road 520 (Upper Rio Grande River Road). Continue approximately 10 mile to Thirty Mile Campground. The trail leaves the campground about 100 yards south of the amphitheater area. The Trail is signed on the West Campground Loop Road. A parking area is located within Thirty Mile Campground a short distance from the trailhead. Horse and pack stock are not allowed in the campground except to follow the road to the trailhead. Two unloading and packing areas for animals are located along Rio Grande Reservoir Road (Forest Road 520 just 1/4 and 1/2 mile below the campground. The area 1/2 mile away has hitching rails and loading ramps.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through September .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cross-country Skiing If going to Weminuche Pass, plan for an overnight
ICON Cold Water Fishing Weminuche Creek
ICON Hiking & Walking Weminuche Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Well defined and easy to follow

Related Activities
Continental Divide - Knife Edge to Weminuche Pass - Opportunities for many beautiful panoramic views exist along this segment of the Continental Divide Trail. Fishermen will find some short side trips can be made to Trout, Williams, and Squaw Lakes.

Continental Divide - Weminuche Pass to Hunchback P - Many vacation adventures await visitors to this segment of the Continental Divide Trail. The raw beauty and inspiring views in this area will long be etched in the visitor's memories.

Reservoir (rio Grande) Picnic Ground - This site overlooks Rio Grande Reservoir and has 4 picnic units, each with tables and fireplaces.

Rio Grande Reservoir - This is a scenic high mountain reservoir with access to wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities. There are five campgrounds, picnic areas, many trails leading from the area and a jeep road with a historical site.

River Hill Campground - This campground has good screening with trees on many sites and remains full from mid-June through August. It is adjacent to Rio Grande River and Little Squaw Resort.

Thirtymile Campground - Campground and trailhead are located 31.1 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road #520. Adjacent to Rio Grande River and Thirty Mile Resort.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Divide Ranger Station, 13308 West US Highway 160, P.O. Box 40 , Del Norte, CO, 81132, Phone: 719-657-3321, TTY: 719-657-6038


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